Verily the religion with God is Islam (Submission to God’s will)
۳ : ۱۹
And those to whom the book had been given did not differ but after the Knowledge (of the truth) had come unto them , out of envy among themselves And whosoever disbelieves in the signs of God , then , verily , God is quick in reckoning .
Deen (religion) is a term used in several meanings which are not totally irrelevant from each other ;one is a figurative expression of the other . Here the term strictly means submissive attitude of human conscience towards some Sacred Object . The Sacred Object means a superhuman controlling power whose pleasure and displeasure are responsible for happiness and sufferings of man . Hardly can anyone claim to be without religion in this sense . Thus the history of religion and its development are the same as the history of the development of human consciousness . Of the various religions in their highly developed form ,the religion of Islam is usually classed among the latest . But as it is presented in the Quran and defined in this treatise , the reader will find it the oldest or rather the only religion , the development of which is correlated with the development of human consciousness . In other words as the Quran says it is the only faith with which human consciousness is born. The varieties of religion are nothing but the outcome of the rebellious nature of power seekers or other selfish motives. The main source of Islam is the Holy Quran which is known to all. The Quran postulates the existence of Superhuman Power or Person as the Creator and Controller of the whole universe of which man with his conscience and volition is a part. Thus the Quran says the religion is a submissive attitude of human conscience towards that Almighty Power. It is the only religion approved by the Almighty Ultimate Power or person . To Him every finite thing or being has willingly or unwillingly submitted . No salvation can be secured by any being but through submission to Him. All Muslim schools of thought are unanimous in this definition of Islam . The differences between the various schools of thought in Islam concern only with the details of this submissive attitude. The purpose of this writing is to place before the readers a brief outline of fundamentals of Islam as advocated by the Shia Ithna¬’Ashari , which is one of the oldest schools of thought in Islam . To achieve this purpose , it is essential to acquaint the readers with the knowledge of the following Self-evident Terms and Propositions .
Cause and Effect
None with commonsense and average intelligence can ever doubt about the existence of God. One May as well deny his own existence in some sense or the other rather than denying or even doubting about any Effect being without any Cause.
The thing or being by which another thing or being exists or on which the existence of another thing or being depends; is called a Cause.
The basis of all scientific investigation is that there can be no effect without a cause. The word Cause is a term meaning a thing somehow responsible for the existence of a being or another thing: and this is of two kinds, the Structural and Creative.
The structural causes are the parts and the components of the effect.
The Creative or Agential causes are the producing or originating factors, bringing the structure into existence but they are not the part of the structure.
The structural cause is sub¬divided into two kinds, Material and. Formal. The material cause is the thing out of which the structure is made. The formal cause is the shape or form by which the structure is what it is.
The creative cause means the factor which produces the parts and affects their arrangement. This cause consists of two kinds Genetic and Objective, the former is called the First or the Active, and the latter is called the Ultimate or Final Cause (purpose or motive).
No man with commonsense, has ever denied or doubted the necessity of the Structural cause. Everything owes its existence to its component parts and to the Form in which they are arranged together .
The thing or being which depends on or owes its existence to something else is called an Effect or Phenomenon.
The existence of an effect cannot depend on a non¬being or nothing or nothingness. This implies that the chain of an effect and its cause should end in a self-existing cause, otherwise it would mean the existence of a being or a thing by a non¬being, or naught; the absurdity of which is self-evident.
Everything or being of composite nature is an Effect, i. e., its existence is not by itself, as it depends at least on its parts and its existence is caused by them. The parts of a being or beings cannot be non¬beings. The question arises whether the parts exist by themselves or they are also composite whole depending on their parts? If they are also composed of parts, then we have to trace back the process till we reach the Final components which will lead to the conclusion that they are beings of non¬-composite nature existing by themselves on which the whole edifice of the effects and their causes stands. But, no being of a dimensional nature presentable in the term of Space and Time, can ever be of a non¬-composite nature as the simplest and the smallest being which occupies space is dimensional and geometrically divisible and depends on its parts.
Therefore, no dimensional being can be taken as a self-¬existing being and thus considered as the First or the Beginning in the chain of beings. We have either to accept that the chain is based on non¬beings, the absurdity of which is self¬-evident , or we are forced to step out of the realm of the material chain in the search of a non¬-composite , non-dimensional self¬-existing Being and assert that the chain of cause and effect is based on this Being . This means that the whole dimensional realm presentable in the terms of Space and Time is an effect and the phenomenon of a Non¬-dimensional Non¬-material being. On this ground we have to leave the dimensional realm and proceed in search of the self¬-existing being responsible for the phenomenon of the chain of cause and effect in the realm where the experimental logic and method has no approach to it at all. (1)
Having the definition of the cause and effect in view , mankind has been questioned by the following verses of the Holy Quran :
Or were they created without there being anything , or are they the creators ?
or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay! They have no certainty
Or have they the treasures of your Lord with them? Or have they been set in absolute authority!
The Concrete and Abstract Part
We have said that any being of composite nature depends for its existence on its parts and hence it is an Effect, a Phenomenon and Unreal. Here it is to be pointed out that the parts and the components of a composite being may be of two kinds, Concrete and Abstract.
The Concrete parts are those which our mind observes. , side by side in the realm outside the mind such as the parts of an organic, chemical or geometrical compound.
The Abstract parts are those found in a being in the course of the mental process and analysis, but outside the realm of mind the parts are merged into each other as one entity such as the logical parts of a Definition, Genus and Differential. Genus, being the aspect found in an idea which is common in other ideas too, and Differential being the aspect which is peculiar to one and is not found in anyone else.
In any case, composition means dependence on the parts. Hence the composite being becomes an effect and a phenomenon and thus unreal, be the parts, concrete or abstract; because though the abstract parts, Genus and Differential are merged into each other as one outside the mind, in fact they are two different things.
Therefore, the same would be the case of beings dependent on abstract parts in logical definition. They are also effects, phenomena, unreal and non-¬self¬-existing being.
The Absolute Oneness of Self-¬Existing Being
As we had to step out of the limitation of Space and Time in search of the Self¬-Existing being we have also to step further out beyond the logical limitations which consists of the abstract parts of Genus and Differential.
Hence the Self Existing Being must be unlimited, not presentable in the terms of Space and Time, Genus and Differential. It should be beyond all dimensional and non¬-dimensional limitations and as such it cannot be but One; because the idea of the 2 Sel-f¬existing Beings implies limitations of both, having a common aspect of being self-existent and the aspect by which they are distinguished from each other; hence composite and dependent on their parts .
The conclusion is that the Self-¬existing Being is One, the Real Unit which is not divisible at all, in any sense of the term, and in any respect or form or any aspect imaginable. Therefore, it is the Real Unique , the like of it in any sense is not possible .
Self¬Consciousness of Self¬Existing One
This Unique Unit by which the finite beings in part and as a whole are existing, is not absent from itself. Hence it is conscious of itself. Consciousness means presence of the Known to the Knower, presence of one thing to (or for) the other.
If the thing or being is present to itself then the being is conscious of “Itself” and consequently becomes conscious of anything else which is present before it or stand by it. But if the being (or thing) is absent from Itself, it cannot be self-¬conscious, hence unconscious of other things standing by it.
Unconsciousness of Dimensional Being or Thing
All the dimensional beings are composed of dimensional parts and every dimensional part occupies a portion of space not identified with the portion occupied by the other parts. Hence every dimensional part is absent from the other dimensional parts. The conclusion is that all dimensional beings are devoid of self¬-consciousness and consequently devoid of consciousness.
On the other hand, anything or being which is non¬-dimensional and non¬material, be it composed of abstract parts such as finite mind (which is composed of Genus and Differential), or be composed of no parts at all such as the Absolute Unit in question (which is unlimited and infinite), is not absent from itself because either it has no part at all or it consists of parts which do not occupy different portions of space. The parts are merged into each other and their separation is only mental and a conceptual process.
Regarding the non¬-dimensional Being or Absolute Unit, it is obvious that It cannot be absent from itself on account of its absolute oneness. Though the non¬-dimensional beings which are finite consist of parts and hence dependent, yet the parts are one and identical outside the mind and the realm of conception. Hence they are also not absent from their own selves. Each is present to itself, hence conscious of itself and consequently conscious of whatever is present before it.
The conclusion is that whatever is non-¬dimensional is conscious and whatever is conscious is non-¬dimensional. Therefore the Absolute Unit by which all beings exist and stand is necessarily present with every being, as its holding or sustaining factor is self¬-conscious and conscious of all that exist by it, hence living. Therefore, the reference to the Absolute Unit responsible for the whole Phenomenon called Universe should be in terms of Him instead of it.
In the light of the above statement , one can realize that the personal pronoun He refers to a well-known Person , has no real application but to the Absolute One and no term or word can be taken as a real reference to the Absolute One but this personal pronoun He . Therefore there is no real He but the Absolute One, there is no real term for Him but He.
The fundamental articles of faith as given by this school of thought are nothing but various aspects implied in the idea of Absolute Oneness of Self¬-Existing Being. Therefore, without the knowledge of these articles, the submissive attitude of human consciousness towards that Sacred Object would be imperfect. These fundamental articles of faith are:
۱٫ The belief in the Unity or Absolute Oneness of the Real Sacred Object (God).
۲٫ The belief in His justice as the total of all His analytical attributes and excellences.
۳٫ The belief in the necessity of Nubowwat (Prophethood) and
۴٫ Imaamat (the Divine Vicegerency).
۵٫ The belief in the Resurrection and Final purpose of creation.
Fundamentals of Islam According to Quran